Crews prepare to move stranded Atlantic City fishing vessel b - NBC40.net

Update: Stranded fishing vessel removed from A.C. beach

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Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen
Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen
Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen
From: U.S. Coast Guard.  The Jessica Heather is towed back to an Atlantic City Marina after being stranded on the beach From: U.S. Coast Guard. The Jessica Heather is towed back to an Atlantic City Marina after being stranded on the beach
ATLANTIC CITY -

Coast Guard officials say a fishing vessel has been removed from an Atlantic City beach after it ended up on the shore early Monday morning.

The Jessica Heather was freed around 5:50 Monday evening as the tide came in.  Shamrock Towing company assisted other responders with getting the vessel back out to sea and on it's way to Barney's Marina in Atlantic City.  Coast Guard officials say there were no injuries or pollution issues associated with the boat being stranded.  The cause is still being investigated.

Here's our story from earlier:

"I looked out my window and said where is that boat going?" Kevin Donohue couldn't believe his eyes when he glanced outside around 2:00 A.M. and saw a sight like no other. "And I saw this boat. It was all lit up, and I said holy cow, that boat does not belong there."

What he saw was a 56 foot fishing vessel, the Jessica Heather, heading back to it's Atlantic City home port. But something happened before it could get there, that led it ashore.

"I decided to Google it and this isn't supposed to be here. So it's interesting. It's not every day you see a boat on the beach," said Atlantic City tourist Steve Kearns, who traveled to the beach from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

How the vessel even got on the beach is still unknown.

"We've heard a lot of rumors. Rumors about the Captain being asleep. The ship being on autopilot. Those rumors fly as soon as you come on the scene," said Tom Foley, Director for the Atlantic City Office of Emergency Management.

"I do not want to speculate, but it could have been a marine casualty. Something in the steering malfunctioned. It could have been an auto pilot issue. Could have been a mechanical issue," said Lt. Eric Leese, of the United States Coast Guard.

Safety officials say it could have been even worse. The vessel hit land right next to the Caesars Pier Shops.

Starting around 7:00 P.M. Shamrock Towing is going to help pull the vessel back into the water. They are hoping the move will go smoothly, because it will be high tide. Because of the location, they say there are a lot of precautions that needed to be taken ahead of time.

Like securing the area, and making sure when they guide it back into the water, that the vessel will not hit the Pier Shops. The Coast Guard also needs to make sure the vessel has no major damage that could lead to a fuel leak.

"The Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation to ensure that there are no environmental impacts while removing the vessel," said Leese.

At this time the Coast Guard is still investigating. Three people were on board at the time of the incident, however no injuries were reported. It is unknown if there will be any criminal charges issued.

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